Sports News

Sport24.co.za | SA Rugby eyeing 2 more franchises

Cape Town – SA Rugby is reportedly planning on forming two new franchises by the end of the year.

A tender process will begin on October 4, with the national rugby governing body looking to have eight professional teams with a four/four split between the southern and northern hemispheres.

At present, South Africa has four franchises (Lions, Sharks, Stormers and Bulls) in Super Rugby and two (Cheetahs and Southern Kings) who play in Europe’s PRO14.

The two new franchises could play in Europe’s Anglo-Welsh Cup.

“We have four teams in SANZAAR; we have two in PRO14 and the other two will start to develop to play somewhere. Hopefully something like the Anglo-Welsh as a development tournament. At the right time in 2020 we can then make a decision on where our bases are,” SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux said in an interview with the New Zealand Herald.

Roux however emphasised that SA Rugby remains to SANZAAR beyond 2020.

“We believe we are as strong as we are because we play Australia, Argentina and New Zealand. We measure ourselves by those teams even though the north is getting better.”

Earlier this year there were calls for South African rugby teams to join the Anglo-Welsh Cup in Europe.

The Anglo-Welsh Cup is a knock-out competition featuring the 12 English Premiership clubs and the four Welsh regions.

According to BBC Sport, Premiership Rugby was investigating the possibility of introducing South African teams into the competition.

It’s not sure which two franchises SA Rugby is planning to form, but it may come from two Currie Cup Premier Division teams, Griquas and the Pumas.

Sport24.co.za | Emerging Bangladesh face tough examination in SA

Johannesburg – Bangladesh’s quest for recognition as a significant world cricket force faces a tough examination on their tour of South Africa, which starts Thursday with a three-day match against an invitation side.

READ: SA to face Zim on Boxing Day, India tour confirmed

Bangladesh will play two Test matches, three one-day internationals and two Twenty20 internationals.

They have lost by an innings in all four Tests they have played on two previous tours of South Africa, as well as losing six of seven one-day internationals and two Twenty20 internationals against the hosts.

The lone exception was an abandoned game on their most recent tour in 2008/09.

The tour itinerary indicates Bangladesh’s relatively lowly status as they will not play at any of South Africa’s major grounds.

The Tests are in Potchefstroom and Bloemfontein, which have hosted only one and four Tests respectively. Potchefstroom’s only previous Test, in the 2002/03 season, also involved Bangladesh.

The one-day and T20 matches will be at Kimberley, Paarl, East London, Bloemfontein and Potchefstroom, all infrequent international venues.

Bangladesh will be buoyed by a solid recent record, despite being without star all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan for the Tests.

Since former Sri Lankan batsman Chandika Hathurusingha took over as coach in 2014 they have gained some notable results, including Test wins against England, Sri Lanka and Australia.

They shared a rain-hit home series against South Africa in 2015.

They have recorded one-day wins against England, Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka and New Zealand during Hathurusingha’s tenure, while they beat South Africa 2-1 in a three-match series at home in 2015.

Their away record remains poor, however, despite a Test win against Sri Lanka in Colombo in March, and they will have to adapt quickly to the expected pace-friendly pitches in South Africa.

The team suffered a setback when they departed from Dhaka last Saturday when fast bowler Rubel Hossain was prevented from boarding because he did not have an immigration clearance.

TEST SQUAD

Bangladesh: Mushfiqur Rahim (capt/wkt), Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarkar, Imrul Kayes, Sabbir Rahman, Mohammad Mahmudullah, Liton Das (wkt), Mehidy Hasan, Taijul Islam, Mustafizur Rahman, Rubel Hossain, Shafiul Islam, Taskin Ahmed, Subashis Roy, Mominul Haque

Coach: Chandika Hathurusingha (SRI)

ITINERARY

Sept

21-23: SA Invitation XI, Benoni

28-Oct 2: First Test, Potchefstroom

Oct

6-10: Second Test, Bloemfontein

12: SA Invitation XI, Bloemfontein

15: First ODI, Kimberley

18: Second ODI, Paarl

22: Third ODI, East London

26: First T20, Bloemfontein

29: Second T20, Potchefstroom

Sport24.co.za | Bok needs will boost Currie Cup

Johannesburg – The Currie Cup has been played out below the radar this season, but the big Springbok defeat to the All Blacks has ensured that the world’s oldest domestic competition will come into much sharper focus this coming weekend.

READ: Jaco Kriel’s season over

READ: Mitchell – Boks need new exits strategy 

Bok coach Allister Coetzee’s praise for the performances of some of the members of the back three of the team that was humiliated in Albany was either a case of the management staff being in denial or wanting to protect players that have been heavily criticised. If it is the latter it is understandable as that is the way coaches are and should be, but it is hard to believe that Coetzee is not going to be watching the wings and fullbacks in action in the Currie Cup with more than just a casual interest.

On Monday Coetzee released a clutch of players, including two players on national contracts who were initially precluded from playing domestic rugby, to the provinces. As stated, there is a need for those players to play as they haven’t seen much action recently, but several of them could also make a statement that could influence selection going forward.

The match between the Sharks and the Blue Bulls in Durban on Saturday could be particularly interesting in that regard, as Handre Pollard gets his first opportunity to play a full game in quite a while. Elton Jantjies hasn’t done anything yet to merit him being dropped but the questions are starting to be asked and if he doesn’t provide the answers and Pollard produces at Currie Cup level then his recall to the No 10 jersey may not be that far away.

Warrick Gelant is winning a lot of support for his potential to be the Bok fullback, although the incumbent Andries Coetzee did draw rave reviews from the Bok coach when the squad arrived back in South Africa on Sunday. Should he and Pollard line up in the same Bulls backline at Kings Park it could be a good measurement of where they are as the Sharks are the one consistent team in the competition and possess a good defensive game.

It would be naïve to equate the modern Currie Cup with anything like international level, but the Durban game, with the Bulls having shown signs of resurgence even in defeat to the Golden Lions last week, should provide a superior quality to most of the games we have seen in the competition this year.

Dan du Preez and Chiliboy Ralepelle are the two Bok tourists released to play for the Sharks and they too could have something to gain, particularly Du Preez, as the No 8 position is not cut and dried in the continued absence of Warren Whiteley.

Western Province shouldn’t encounter too much opposition from Griquas at Newlands but there are also several players in their team that could be looking to give Coetzee a little nudge by way of a reminder of what they can do. Damian de Allende has played only off the bench for the Boks recently but could profit if Coetzee decides to tamper with a midfield that was praised in the early parts of the season but is increasingly looking short of a genuine outside centre, with Jesse Kriel’s great pace and attacking skills perhaps putting him in line for a shift to wing.

Unfortunately the forward battle probably won’t be big enough for Wilco Louw to stake a claim as the Bok starting tighthead, but there again the Bok coaches should have seen enough of him and would know his capabilities. Wing Dillyn Leyds will also be back in Currie Cup action and enjoys a lot of support from sections of the Cape media but that support seems to ignore the fact that Leyds hardly qualifies as a solution to the main weakness of the Bok back three – that being lack of physical presence.

Unfortunately the Lions aren’t in action this week as they enjoy a bye. It might have been opportune for the two Lions centres, Harold Vorster and Rohan Janse van Rensburg, to be playing, though like Louw, the Bok coaches should know the capabilities of Janse van Rensburg in particular.

Talking of knowing the capabilities of players, a player not playing Currie Cup this weekend but worthy of watching in the PRO14 is Cheetahs captain Francois Venter. The man known as Swys went with the Boks to Argentina as a travelling reserve a few weeks ago but has generally been ignored after making his international debut on last year’s end of season tour.

All of this speculation about the centres is of course predicated on the belief that the Bok coach will by now be questioning whether the incumbent, Kriel, is really a centre and not perhaps a wing. He has the gas for the latter but perhaps not the tactical nous for the former.

Read the story on SuperSport.com

Sport24.co.za | Why Newlands MUST be Bok rot-stopper

Cape Town – There’s a pretty important date against a mildly resurgent Australia in Bloemfontein to take care of first … one that should determine 2017 Rugby Championship “best of the rest”, for what it’s worth.

But already the return date against the All Blacks at Newlands on October 7 shapes up as a really critical one – yes, dead rubber and all — for freshly embattled Springbok coach Allister Coetzee and his charges.

Simply, how many more truly gory results against the world’s premier side can be tolerated, both by South African supporters and Coetzee’s employers at SA Rugby?

It is a stark fact, and something that cannot be sugar-coated in any manner, that the Boks have had an unprecedented, consecutive trio of thrashings from the All Blacks – supposedly our greatest rivals – in his tenure thus far.

They say you are most accurately measured in sport against the best. On that basis, Coetzee’s national side have only wilted like Namaqualand daisies in an unseasonal heatwave, three times on the trot.

The last two results (0-57 in Albany and 15-57 in Durban) are not only record bilateral lows for South Africa, but Coetzee’s 2016 debut as mastermind against those particular foes was barely happier: a 41-13 loss in Christchurch.

No less (actually, perhaps more?) damning is the try count between the two sides in that time, which is almost too bad to be true if you are Bok-inclined: 23-1.

You read it correctly: 23-1 to the All Blacks.

Let that sink in, if you even can.

So no matter what has happened a week earlier at Free State Stadium, it could be last-straw time for the coach, at least in the eyes of SA enthusiasts, if the Boks only let the sluice-gates open against them yet again at Newlands, where plenty of wags are suggesting NZ come for a virtual “home game”.

But it is not that, of course, whatever the expected volume of All Black support in Cape Town, and the need to go properly toe to toe against the old enemy at long last has become most pressing indeed, even if SA victory does prove elusive again.

In defence of Coetzee, gradual dilution of the rivalry had already been occurring to a noticeable degree during the professional era … though it has accelerated quite violently in his period in charge.

But it would also be short-sighted to venture too brazenly that Coetzee’s two predecessors in the period since South Africa last won a World Cup in late 2007, Peter de Villiers and Heyneke Meyer, had a hard time of it against New Zealand.

They did, in some respects, with neither managing a positive win record, yet their matches against the All Blacks were almost always more authentic “contests”. And what wouldn’t we give for at least that phenomenon in the more recent climate?

In terms of victories, De Villiers stands notably loftier than both Coetzee and Meyer, with five from 11 attempts, a percentage of 45.45 that both the incumbent and his immediate predecessor might bite your hand off for.

Eccentric personality though he was, “Div” also presided over the last two Bok triumphs on New Zealand soil: 32-29 in Hamilton in 2009 and 30-28 in Dunedin (2008).

If Meyer’s record of one win from eight cracks (27-25 in Johannesburg, the Pat Lambie late-penalty show of 2014) looks poor on paper, it rather disguises the fact that during his tenure, the Boks ran the All Blacks – often containing such legends as Richie McCaw and Dan Carter, plus the Smith-Nonu midfield alliance – extremely close for protracted periods of games.

Even as he stepped down from the hot seat in December 2015, Meyer was adamant he was closing the gap on NZ, especially in terms of getting Bok fitness and tempo levels up and matching their physicality with enough of our own; this writer, for one, was very often inclined to believe him.

The fact that the Boks and All Blacks played out some widely-trumpeted “modern classics” in his time was probably also one good reason why Meyer developed a friendship with All Blacks counterpart Steve Hansen – mutual respect was seldom lacking when they went head to head.

Things may change, but Coetzee has got off to an awful start bilaterally, with the average score between the teams over three encounters standing at a historically unprecedented 52-9 in favour of the All Blacks.

On Meyer’s watch, it was an infinitely closer 26-18, and during De Villiers’ stint an even more credible 25-19.

If Coetzee doesn’t want to become the coach under whose reign the once-explosive rivalry most palpably became a “myth”, the stuff purely of bygone times, he needs to start clawing things back, stopping the scoreboard haemorrhaging, in a hurry.

A tweet from former England captain Will Carling (@willcarling) in the wake of the Albany debacle only further emphasised the need for that: “Genuinely sad to see Springboks suffer v ABs. Grew up with Boks v ABs as superpowers of world rugby. Hope solution found quickly in SA.”

To Newlands, then …

*Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing

Sport24.co.za | Pressing Issues: Bafana’s free fall a good opportunity for Safa to show vision

Johannesburg – When you hit rock bottom, there is no way but up – so goes the old adage.

News that Bafana Bafana – the supposed jewel in the South African football crown – have dropped 14 places to be ranked 80th by Fifa, came as a punch felt in the pit of the stomach.

However, nothing more was expected following the embarrassing back-to-back defeat at the hands of Cape Verde.

All sorts of questions have been asked as the blame game played itself out.

Yours truly feels that the current situation provides a great opportunity for the SA Football Association (Safa) to show quality in leadership by steering this ship clear of the stormy and murky waters in which it finds itself.

Nothing will earn Safa more plaudits than to see it come up with a turnaround strategy and then implement it successfully.

Safa, as the national governing body, is in charge of all football structures in this country.

From a six-year-old urchin called Tshifiwa in Nzelele to eight-year-old Vakuthethwa in the backwaters of Qoboqobo, 11-year-old Tetemani in KwaMhlabuyalingana and Tafiq in the Cape Flats, as long as they kick a football, they are Safa’s responsibility.

All the brittle-boned imaginary boys mentioned above have only one dream – to one day play for Bafana Bafana.

And when Bafana Bafana sneeze, the entire football fraternity, including followers and armchair critics, catch a cold.

As a country, we tend to be too harsh on ourselves, sometimes in almost all spheres of life.

As a great believer in the good in humanity, I do believe that we have world-class leaders in this country and even within football.

Proof is the 2010 World Cup, which we hosted with such aplomb, with then global football head honcho Sepp Blatter rating it the “best” World Cup ever.

Prior to that, Mzansi football administrators, led by the trio then known as the “Three Musketeers” – Molefi Oliphant, Irvin Khoza and Danny Jordaan – fought tooth and nail, claiming “we wuz robbed” after Germany pipped South Africa to the rights to host the 2006 global event.

So determined were they that they took the matter up with the highest sports court on the globe and roped in the best legal brains internationally.

It was that fighting spirit that led to Fifa deciding to rotate the hosting of the World Cup through the six continents. This put an end to the monotonous two-way hosting of the event in either Europe or South America that had been the status quo in Fifa’s almost 100 years of existence, with South Korea/Japan having tasted the fruit of hosting only once – in 2002.

It was South Africa’s fight that led to Fifa introducing the rotation system.

Africa became the first continent to benefit from this system, hence South Africa hosted the first World Cup on this continent’s soil.

It is this kind of bulldog-like tenacity that one is calling for in finding and administering the remedy that is needed to get Bafana out of their current quagmire.

Bafana do not inspire any confidence in their present state.

Can Safa – under the leadership of Jordaan – change tack and focus solely on football? Can it avoid being caught up in sideshows that involve individual spats, politics and the like, and concentrate only on matters football?

We know it can do it if it puts its mind to it.

The calamity facing Bafana Bafana needs vision and swift action.

One can only hope that, from being in the not-so-awe-inspiring 80th position, Bafana Bafana will rise again.

Rather than take this current situation as a failure, Safa must take it as a challenge from which South African football can rise like the proverbial phoenix.

They would do well to heed the words of UK novelist and screenwriter Joanne Rowling, who writes under the pen names JK Rowling and Robert Galbraith: “Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.”

Follow me on Twitter @Sbu_Mseleku

Sport24.co.za | Pumas fightback sinks WP in Nelspruit

Cape Town – The Pumas have ended an eight-year drought, as they defeated Western Province in their Currie Cup encounter at Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit on Friday.

The Pumas won 22-12 after trailing 3-12 at half-time.

In a hard-fought encounter, both sides comitted several handling errors but it was the home side who finished stronger and eventually outscored their visitors three tries to two.

The win means the Pumas are now in joint fourth place with WP in the standings although the men from the Cape have played one match less.

The visitors made a strong start and after an extensive period camped inside the Pumas half, JD Schickerling crashed over for the opening try in the seventh minute after running onto an inside pass from EW Viljoen.

10 minutes later, Nizaam Carr strayed offside on defence inside the Pumas’ 22 and Kobus Marais slotted the resulting penalty open the home side’s account.

Midway through the half, the Pumas took the ball through several phases with their forwards, just outside WP’s 22, but a wayward pass from Mark Pretorius was intercepted by Seabelo Senatla who outpaced the cover defence before scoring the visitors’ second try.

Both sides continued to attack but a combination of handling errors and tenacious defending meant that neither team scored more points during the half and WP held a 12-3 lead at half-time.

Three minutes after the restart, the Pumas narrowed the gap in bizarre fashion.

This after Craig Barry failed to clear the ball in WP’s in-goal area. His attempted clearance was charged down by Gerrit Smith and the ball was then gathered by Marais who dotted down and also converted.

With the score now 12-10 to the visitors, the Pumas suddenly had a spring in their step and they were the dominant side for the next 15 minutes.

That dominance was rewarded when Frank Herne showed great determination and leg drive before diving over for his side’s second try in the 58th minute.

Five minutes later, Province suffered a further setback when Jano Vermaak was yellow carded for a tip-tackle on Jerome Pretorius.

The Pumas made full use of their numerical advantage and were rewarded in the 66th minute when Hennie Skorbinski took the ball into contact close to WP’s line before offloading to Jerome Pretorius, who crashed over for the match-winning try.

Scorers:

Pumas 22 (3)

Tries: Kobus Marais, Frankie Herne, Jerome Pretorius

Conversions: Marais (2)

Penalty: Marais

Western Province 12 (12)

Tries: JD Schickerling, Seabelo Senatla

Conversions: Damian Willemse

Teams:

Pumas

15 Justin van Staden, 14 Jerome Pretorius, 13 Gerrit Smith, 12 Hennie Skorbinski (captain), 11 Ruwellyn Isbell, 10 Kobus Marais, 9 Stefan Ungerer, 8 Willie Engelbrecht, 7 Lambert Groenewald, 6 Thembelani Bholi, 5 Hugo Kloppers, 4 Stefan Willemse, 3 Pieter Scholtz, 2 Mark Pretorius, 1 Khwezi Mona

Substitutes: 16 Frank Herne, 17 De-Jay Terblanche, 18 Cameron Lindsay, 19 Brian Shabangu, 20 Hilton Lobberts, 21 Reynier van Rooyen, 22 Selom Gavor

Western Province

15 Craig Barry, 14 Seabelo Senatla, 13 EW Viljoen, 12 Huw Jones, 11 Ruhan Nel, 10 Damian Willemse, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Cobus Wiese, 6 Jaco Coetzee, 5 JD Schickerling, 4 Chris van Zyl (captain), 3 Michael Kumbirai, 2 Ramone Samuels, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg.

Substitutes: 16 Chad Solomon, 17 Ali Vermaak, 18 Caylib Oosthuizen, 19 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 20 Dewaldt Duvenage, 21 Robert du Preez, 22 Werner Kok

Sport24.co.za | Hansen wary of improved Boks

Cape Town – All Blacks coach Steve Hansen acknowledged South Africa were going to present a much tougher Rugby Championship challenge than they did last year when they meet at Albany on Saturday.

It was obvious, Hansen said, that the Springboks were playing with confidence, enjoying their rugby as a result, and that made them a more formidable opponent. 

They had made some significant changes in their coaching personnel and that was evident in the way they were playing. South Africa had always bred good rugby players so it was going to be ‘a great Test’, he said.

Much of the press conference was taken up looking at the demands of attempting to build a side between Rugby World Cups, especially after losing the core of 800 caps in the wake of the 2015 World Cup success, while also meeting the demands of New Zealanders that the team continue to produce top-flight rugby.

As a result of the loss of props Owen Franks and Joe Moody, wing Israel Dagg and with Ben Smith on sabbatical, there were opportunities for younger players and that contributed to the depth available for the future.

There was something of Murphy’s Law applying to the injuries which tended to occur in areas the selectors least wanted but they had come out the other side of those events with surprise packages who had done well, he said, adding that he didn’t expect the latest situation to be any different.

Scrum coach Mike Cron was enjoying the challenge of preparing the scrum for the contest. 

“It’s a challenge for such a great coach and he’s one of the best in the world, if not the best at what he does, and challenges like this is forcing him to really go into his box of tricks to make sure that he has got people up to speed quickly,” said Hansen.

“He’s got a bit of talent to work with too. It’s not as if we’re bringing in people that can’t play.

“We’re happy enough that we’ve got good scrummagers so our set-piece is okay, they’re good in the lineout with their lifting. Where you probably miss out a little bit is that experience around the park and being in the right place at the right time because they haven’t had the miles under them but it will come.

“We just can’t panic, we’ve got to back them and believe in them and we’re doing that.”

It had been similar with Franks when he was first in the team. He could scrum and lift but around the field his contribution was minimal.

“But now he’s probably one of the best line runners in the game. His running lines are great and his catch and pass is pretty good for a big man, so you can make those improvements but first and foremost you’ve got to do the set-piece job,” added Hansen.

Hansen said he could understand some of the feeling suggesting there was more vulnerability around the side this year.

In 2016 they had hit the ground running with a group of players who were ready to take their chance.

“In 2017 what has changed is that the game has changed subtlely. So we are learning to deal with that. We are also learning…you are always going to have a tough period as a squad at some period in your life. It would appear that this is a year we are having to find out about ourselves,” he said.

Part of that process was finding out whether they were preparing bone deep or just scratching the surface. That meant if their preparation wasn’t right they could get into trouble on game day.

Hansen said the British & Irish Lions series had involved a quality of defensive play that was probably the best in the world by four countries who had the tools to take on one country and it was probably the fact the series was drawn that was of concern in some quarters.

“But what we got from that series was a whole lot of things that this group has to learn,” he said.

Captain Kieran Read might have played 100 Tests, but he was being challenged as a young leader, the leadership group was being challenged along with the young players. When the injuries were thrown into the mix it had been an awkward season, he said.

In spite of all that, the side had only lost one Test, and drawn one, and the players had still managed to extricate themselves from tricky positions against good teams.

“All those things are feeding into the big experience pot that we are drinking from and learning from. So it’s not all bad,” explained Hansen..

The side in 2015 was at the end of its cycle, but the side in 2017 was at the beginning and if they continued to develop as the management wanted they would be a far, far stronger side than they were at the moment by the time 2019 came around.

“It is difficult to go four years without injuries, it’s very difficult to go four years without feeling some discomfort and the key to being successful is feeling comfortable being uncomfortable and we’re working our way through that,” he said.

Between 2011-15 there had been losses and some tough games but the difference was the experience McCaw and Co. could provide. 

“If you look at a Dan Carter vs a Beauden Barrett, Beauden Barrett has played one and a half seasons at fly-half but Dan Carter was coming to the end of his career, and he was injured a lot of that. I could name a lot of people like – Ryan Crotty vs Conrad [Smith], Alby [Anton Lienert-Brown] vs Ma’a [Nonu]. They’re just at a different stage so because of that you are seeing different things,” said Hansen.

“It doesn’t mean to say they’re not a good team, it doesn’t mean to say they’re not going to get better. That’s the exciting thing working with this group because they want to get better and yes, it’s a bit tough at the moment but give some credit to the opposition.” 

Because they were playing the All Blacks there was no trouble sides getting up to play them but the All Blacks had to work on that motivation all the time and needed a good work ethic. 

“I believe we do have a good work ethic. I believe that we’re going in the right direction. I believe that we’ve got a good plan, you just have to be patient. If you’re not happy how we’re going just be patient and we’ll get there. I promise you,” he said.

Hansen confirmed that it was likely Dagg would need some time out of the game due to his knee injury. More information was being sought on the exact nature of the problem and the longer term prognosis.

He explained that Vaea Fifita had not been in the frame for selection for the South Africa Test. The selectors felt Liam Squire had been part of the side for three years and had built up the necessary experience while Fifita was new and needed more time to build up his game to meet the side’s needs.

Sport24.co.za | Lambie wanted to ‘break cycle’ of injuries

Durban – Pat Lambie acknowledges that struggles with injury over the past few years contributed to his decision to relocate to France.

The 26-year-old Springbok has been released from his Sharks and SA Rugby contracts and he will be joining French outfit Racing 92 from November 1. 

It is a big loss to the Sharks, but Lambie has been struggling with injuries for the past three Super Rugby seasons and, with his recent run of head knocks and concussions, there had been suggestions that his career could be over. 

Instead, the 56-Test Bok is looking for a fresh start. 

“When I was going through this whole debacle of another injury and if I was going to play again, and where, the decision was to go and experience something new in a different country to try and break the cycle,” Lambie told Durban’s East Coast Radio on Wednesday.

“It’s been a tough couple of years from an injury point of view. I’ve by no means been unhappy in South Africa at the Sharks and the Springboks.”

Lambie, who is still available for the Springboks, added that he was not worried about sustaining further head injuries in what is known as a physical French league. 

“I think my injuries have just been freak accidents,” said Lambie.

“It hasn’t had anything to do with the physicality of the competitions that I’ve been playing in.

“Rugby is a contact sport and you run the risk of injury as soon as you step onto the field. The biggest thing for me was the mental break from it … a fresh start in a completely new jersey in a new continent to break the cycle, put the past in the past and move on from injuries I’ve had.”

LISTEN: FULL EAST COAST RADIO INTERVIEW WITH PAT LAMBIE

Sport24.co.za | Boks could tackle All Blacks without Kriel

Cape Town – Flank Jaco Kriel is an injury concern for the Springboks ahead of Saturday’s Rugby Championship Test against the All Blacks in Albany (kick-off 09:35 SA time).

According to Netwerk24, Kriel hurt his shoulder in last Saturday’s 23-23 draw against the Wallabies in Perth.

Should Kriel be unavailable for this Saturday’s Test, Jean-Luc du Preez is expected to fill the gap at No 7.

Jean-Luc’s twin brother Dan is also in the squad and could be considered at No 8 in place of Uzair Cassiem.

Bok coach Allister Coetzee will name his side on Thursday.

Sport24.co.za | Nadal ends Anderson’s dream US Open run

New York – Rafael Nadal raced to a third US Open title and 16th Grand Slam crown on Sunday with a 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 rout of South Africa’s Kevin Anderson.

AS IT HAPPENED: Kevin Anderson v Rafael Nadal

The world number one, the champion also in New York in 2010 and 2013, added the US title to the record 10th French Open he captured in June.

Old rival Roger Federer won the season’s other two Slams at the Australian Open, beating Nadal in the final, and Wimbledon in an illustration of the two Grand Slam greats’ enduring appeal and power.

Nadal’s Grand Slam tally is just three behind Federer’s record 19.

For Nadal, it was his fifth title of the year and 74th of his career while the $3.7 million winner’s prize boosted his earnings to a shade under $90 million.

It was a desperately disappointing day for Anderson, the world number 32 playing in his maiden Slam final at the 34th attempt.

He was the first South African in a US championship final since Cliff Drysdale in 1965 and was bidding to become his country’s first Slam champion since Johan Kriek at the 1981 Australian Open.

The Johannesburg-born, Florida-based Anderson finished the 2hr 28min final with 40 unforced errors to Nadal’s 11, failing even to carve out a single break point.

In a final guaranteed to result in the fifth Slam champion in succession who is 30 or older, Nadal was on top from the start.

He had 28th-seeded Anderson scrambling to save two break points in the third and fifth games before the Spaniard converted his fifth off a forehand error for a 4-3 lead.

The world number one held and broke again, cleverly forcing the 31-year-old South African out of position on set point after 58 minutes of action.

By the end of the opening set, Nadal had just five unforced errors to Anderson’s 23 with the South African unable to muster a single break point.

The one-way traffic continued in the second set as Nadal broke for 4-2 off the back of three successive volleys.

Anderson even collected a time violation for his troubles as his efforts to compose himself failed horribly.

A brutal crosscourt forehand winner gave Nadal the second set 6-3.

Anderson was broken again in the opening game of the third set.

It was his fourth loss of serve in the final; before Sunday, he had been broken just five times in the entire tournament.

Anderson called the trainer for a bloodied right index finger after the fifth game, but his struggles continued.

He saved a match point but Nadal wrapped it up with a clinical backhand volley.

Results from the 14th and final day of the US Open on Sunday (x denotes seeding):

Men’s singles

Final

Rafael Nadal (ESP x1) bt Kevin Anderson (RSA x28) 6-3, 6-3, 6-4

Women’s doubles final

Chan Yung-Jan/Martina Hingis (TPE/SUI x2) bt Lucie Hradecka/Katerina Siniakova (CZE/CZE x7) 6-3, 6-2

Boys singles

Final

Wu Yibing (CHN x2) bt Alex Geller (ARG x1) 6-4, 6-4

Girls singles

Final

Amanda Anisimova (USA x4) bt Cori Gauff (USA) 6-0, 6-2